Shoppers returned to the nation's malls in January.
Shoppers returned to the nation's malls in January.

Signs that shoppers are picking up basement-priced bargains from the nation's retailers may be enough to stop the Reserve Bank cutting official interest rates today.

Though financial markets are starting to believe the Reserve will deliver two rate cuts this year, there is doubt it will make a move a week out from the Federal Budget.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday that retail sales in March fell more than expected, down 0.4 per cent.

Sales in WA lifted 0.2 per cent.

However, the bureau also reported that overall inflation-adjusted sales through the first three months of this year grew 2.2 per cent. Sales in WA grew a more subdued 0.7 per cent over the period.

The retail sector's pain is from the price-cutting needed to get shoppers through the door.

Prices fell 0.6 per cent in the quarter, the biggest fall in 13 years.

TD Securities-Melbourne Institute chief strategist Annette Beacher said she expected another rate cut, but not today.

The West Australian

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